Stop! Don’t Make This Mistake With the Southwest Companion Pass!

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Million Mile Secrets reader CarterV commented:

I’m a little confused and need some clarification about the Southwest Companion Pass.  If I apply for the cards now and don’t meet my 110,000 Southwest points until January 2016, is my pass still valid for 2016 and 2017?

I know I will get my 104,000 points in 2015.  If I spend an additional $6,000 in January 2016, will I get my Companion Pass?

NO!  CarterV is about to make a big mistake which will cost him his Southwest Companion Pass!

To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.

With the Companion Pass, a friend or family member flies with you for almost free on paid and award tickets for up to 2 years.

Stop Don't Make This Mistake With The Southwest Companion Pass

Ouch! Don’t Make This Mistake and Lose Your Southwest Companion Pass!

I’ll explain what CarterV needs to do so he doesn’t miss out on the Southwest Companion Pass!

It’s All About Timing!

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier (Personal) Card

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier (Business) Card

Link:   The Secret to Getting the Chase Southwest Plus 50,000 Point Offer

Link:   Reader Question – How Not to Mess-Up the Minimum Spending for the Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Confused About Timing Your Spending for the Southwest Companion Pass?

It’s a good time to think about qualifying for the Southwest Companion Pass.  That’s because all 3 Chase Southwest cards currently have a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus after you complete the minimum spending.

By getting 2 of these cards, you’ll earn 104,000 Southwest points (100,000 points from the sign-up bonus and 4,000 points from completing the minimum spending).

That only leaves you 6,000 Southwest points shy of the 110,000 points needed in a calendar year to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.  And you do NOT have to spend $6,000 to earn the remaining points!

IMPORTANT!  You must earn all 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to qualify for the Companion Pass!

Stop Don't Make This Mistake With The Southwest Companion Pass

Pick a Year! You’ll Only Qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass If You Earn ALL the Required Points in a Calendar Year

If CarterV earns 104,000 points in 2015 and 6,000 points in 2016, he will NOT earn the Southwest Companion Pass!

And it’s when you EARN the points, NOT when you spend the money!

So CarterV has 2 options:

1.   Earn the Companion Pass in 2015

If CarterV wants to earn the Companion Pass in 2015, he’ll have to complete the minimum spending on 2 cards before his December 2015 statement closes.  And any extra points he wants to earn from spending on the Southwest cards.

That’s because the sign-up bonus will post to his Southwest account shortly after the statement in which he completes his minimum spending closes.

Stop Don't Make This Mistake With The Southwest Companion Pass

Don’t Meet Minimum Spending Until After Your December 2015 Statement Closes to Earn the Sign-Up Bonus in 2016

That said, if his statement closing date is near the end of the month, he may want to call Chase and have it moved earlier in the month, to ensure the sign-up bonus posts to his Southwest account in December.

And he’ll have to make sure he earns the remaining 6,000 points required before the end of the year.  Don’t wait until the last minute!  There can be a delay in points posting to your Southwest account.  The points must post in 2015 to earn the Companion Pass.

If CarterV earns his Companion Pass in 2015, it will be valid until December 31, 2016.

2.   Earn the Companion Pass in 2016

If CarterV waits until after his December 2015 statement closes to meet minimum spending requirements on 2 Southwest cards, the points should post to his Southwest account early in 2016.

This could take some planning!  If he signs-up for 2 Southwest cards today (September 20, 2015), he’ll have 3 months (until December 20, 2015) to complete the minimum spending requirement.

His best bet is to call Chase and have his statement closing date moved to the beginning of December.  Then quickly meet the $2,000 minimum spending requirement on each card after his December 2015 statement closes, BUT before December 20, 2015.

Stop Don't Make This Mistake With The Southwest Companion Pass

With Some Planning, You Can Meet Minimum Spending In December and Have Your Southwest Sign-Up Bonus Post to Your Account in January

This way, the sign-up bonus and points from meeting minimum spending will post to his Southwest account after his January 2016 statement closes.

And he can take his time about earning the 6,000 remaining points for the Southwest Companion Pass in early 2016.

If CarterV earns the Companion Pass in 2016, it will be valid until December 31, 2017.

Stop Don't Make This Mistake With The Southwest Companion Pass

Earn Your Companion Pass Early in 2016, and It’s Valid for Almost 2 Years of Nearly Free Travel!

Getting 2 years of nearly free travel for your companion is a fantastic deal!  So it’s worth the extra effort to be sure the Southwest points post to your account in early 2016.

That said, if CarterV really wants the Companion Pass before the end of this year, he’ll have to move quickly!  And the pass will only be valid through the end of 2016.

Remember not to make these other common mistakes that could cost you your Southwest Companion Pass!

Bottom Line

You will NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass unless you earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.

So you can NOT earn the sign-up bonus (and points from minimum spending) in late 2015, then make up the rest of the points required in early 2016.

That said, now is a terrific time to go for the Southwest Companion Pass!  All 3 Southwest cards currently have a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus.

And if you time it right, you could earn the Companion Pass in early 2016.  And travel 2-for-1 until December 31, 2017!

Thanks for the question, CarterV!

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27 responses to “Stop! Don’t Make This Mistake With the Southwest Companion Pass!

  1. Hi Darius
    I am really confused. I want to qualify for the companion pass in early 2016 so that I will have two years of use. I applied on September 10th but I am not sure when it was approved. How do I figure out when my statement closes in December? Do I have until December 10th to complete minimum spending? Did I apply too early for this to work out?

  2. Darius,
    Why not just wait to apply about 2 weeks from now to when the closing date will be in January (but before the 3 months is up)? If I apply now for the SW card my 3 months is up in Dec 20…but what if i wait 12 days?

  3. I want to apply, but what’s the best time? I was thinking about applying on Oct 10th to make sure I don’t complete the required miles before January 2016. Advice?

  4. What’s the best strategy to getting both cards since chase has made getting new cards difficult?

  5. Thanks Darius for the step by step tutorial, Companion Pass here I come !!!

  6. Hi,

    Assuming that 50K offer would be available until 2nd Oct 2015, applying 2 southwest cards on 10/02 will give me bonus period until 2nd Jan 2016, right? And that way, 100K miles I would earn in 2016, right?


  7. I have Sapphire, Ink, and United cards (all opened in 2015). FICO well over 800. Last week Chase approved my personal SW card, but rejected my Biz SW card and would not reconsider because of too many cards/short track record, etc. I will re-apply for SW Biz card in a couple of months, but they really seem to be cracking down on co-branded cards – not just Chase UR cards like Sapphire and Ink. Anyone else have problems getting approved for personal and business SW cards?

  8. Do points from Marriotts fly and stay count towards companion pass?

  9. During the minimum spending period – can you spend more than the minimum and earn the points that way? So if I spent 10k during the first 3 months, would that count toward the 110k miles?


  10. I agree with some above. Do we know when the 50k deals end?

    I feel like if I just wait to apply till sometime in Oct so the final closing date is definitely in Jan 2016 is the best course IF I don’t miss the 50k deal.

  11. @Darius. Could you illuminate us with your guidance and knowledge?

  12. One item to note – the 110,000 miles have to be earned by the last STATEMENT date of the year…not the last day of the CALENDAR year. If your statement date is 12/20, you will need them earned by then…not 12/31.

  13. I have 86,600 Southwest miles with my SW Premier card with 77,423 qualifying towards the companion pass.(not sure why all don’t apply) Retired so not able to apply for a SW business card. I see that there is another SW card with the 50,000 miles-could I apply for that? Any other suggestions to get miles?

  14. Darius, When I spoke to the southwest Reward specialist, they mentioned the signup bonuses (50K) are not counted toward the 110,000 points. Do you have the luck to use the sign up bonus point toward the companion pass?

  15. Darius,
    I have 104,500 SW Miles. I need 6000 SW more. Somewhere you mentioned you can get additional miles by transferring Marriott and other hotel miles to SW. I have 12,000 Marriott points and my husband has 16,000 Marriott points. Can we transfer both transfer our Marriott points to SW? Please explain Marriott point transfer to SW more closely. I am quite new to all of this. Thank you.

  16. Traveling Lizard

    If I get my 2 cards beginning of Nov. WIll I have the three months (Jan 2016) to get my spending in? If it says closing of 2015 then it is less than two months. Also how do we see the replies to the above questions?

  17. Just found this thread as I’m in the process of earning my Companion Pass (CP) in early 2016. This will be my wife’s first CP, so here are my thoughts on these questions:

    @Traveling Lizard – You do have three months, ending in Jan 2016, to complete your spending. Complete your spending before three months after the date your application was *approved*, not when you *received* your cards. The offer says you must spend within the first 3 months your account is open, which I believe starts the date you were approved. And it’s best to have your spending in the last month, so in your case the bonus points are earned in 2016.

    @Travelfan – see Southwest’s terms make me think this still works, but I would transfer a small amount of points and verify before transferring a lot.

    @Ahad Mondal – Southwest’s terms at specifically state that “Partner bonus points (*with the exception of the Rapid Rewards Credit Cards from Chase*) do not qualify as Companion Pass Qualifying Points.” So reversing the logic here means they *do* qualify. They’ve worked for me and many others in the past.

    @Connie – if you applied for the Plus card in September and meet the minimum spending within three months, that will provide enough points to earn CP.

    @ToddD – seems like there isn’t a way to find out when the 50K offers end, but in the past they have been offered every few months or so.

    @Dorian – yes, you can spend more than the minimum. Just watch the timing so you get the 50K bonus in the desired calendar year (e.g., 2015 vs. 2016)

    @CD3 – my wife had trouble (for the first time) qualifying for the SW Business card for our small business (which has a tax ID number), but was able to get the Plus and Premier cards a few weeks apart.

    @Pranav – it depends when you meet your minimum spending requirement. If you do so in the third billing cycle ending in January, your 100K bonus points will be earned in 2016.

    @gaspipe1 – applying for the Plus, then the Premier a few weeks later worked for my wife. Chase has started declining for those who apply for lots of cards, so that won’t work for everybody.

    @GoodMXguy – if you applied on Oct 10th and complete your spending during the statement closing in January, you’ll earn the bonus points in 2016.

    @velvet – call Chase and ask when you were approved. Sounds like your three months to complete the spending will end in 2015, so make sure you have enough other Southwest points earned in 2015 to get the CP.

  18. I still have a few referral links if anyone is interested. It will be for Southwest Premier card. Currently the websites are only offering 25,000 bonus points. This referral link will get you 50,000 bonus points if signed up before January 15, 2016.

  19. I thought I had it all sorted out, but accidentally got the 50k from one of my new cards posted today on 12/26 when I wanted it to post in 2016. Is there anyway to fix this?? If I return a large item that would bring my spending back under 2k would it take the points away ???

  20. Does anybody have a 50k Plus referral code? If anybody needs a 50k Premier referral I have 10 to give out.

  21. Have you heard of the tier status review not done until January 15?
    I transferred Marriott and choice hotel points to qualify for the companion pass on 1-1-16. But they haven’t posted them all yet and they made a mistake on the website saying some were transferred 12-30-15.
    I called and they told me I had to wait until the 15th until they complete theyre review

  22. Thanks for all helpful information and posts! I followed these recommendations and just received my companion pass status earlier this week. I applied for both a personal and business credit card on October 15th. I was approved immediately for the first card, and for the second card after I confirmed I had a business. Both had 50 K bonus point offers. One card had a closing date of 11/4 and the second was 11/10. I used both cards, but made sure my balance was under $2,000 total for the November and December statements. After 12/10, I started using both cards heavily. When the 1/4 statement cut, I had earned 57 k points. When the 1/10 statement cut, I had earned 54 k points. The points actually posted by 1/7 and 1/11. My rapid rewards account showed companion pass complete status on 1/12! Me and my companion had tickets for a flight on 1/14 and they credited back the cost of my companion’s ticket when I called. Thanks again for the great information. I plan to put my points and companion pass to great use over the next 24 months. I’m alreany thinking ahead to getting my companion ready to start the same process in October 2017…

  23. What if I earn all my points in Feb or March of 2016? will my companion pass be valid for the rest of this year plus the next year?

  24. I was wondering. If I needed to use some of the miles to book a flight but I know that I will meet the requirements for the companion pass next month, will I loose those redeemed point going towards the companion pass and have to make them up again or do they just calculate everything you earn in that year whether you use it or not???

  25. Do you need a business tax ID to get the Chase SW business premiere card? How are people applying for this if they are not business owners? In my case, I am a business owner but I am trying to get the cards in my wife’s name because I had companion pass status last year (it recently expired). Any help would be greatly appreciated!